Ministry of Education Kenya structure

The ministry was established under the Kenya law to deal with all education-related policies in the county. It is led by a Cabinet Secretary who is appointed by the president of the Republic of Kenya. The ministry has 3 departments, Basic Education, Technical Education, and University Education. Each of these departments is headed by the Permanent Secretary who is the accounting officer of the section.

To help run the wide ministry functions there are different specialized Semi-autonomous government agencies (SAGAs) that the ministry oversees. With these SAGAs and other stakeholders in education, the ministry can meet government objectives on education.

Ministry of Education in Kenya departments

The basic education section deals with education policy for child development from kindergarten, primary, and secondary school levels.

Technical education on the other side takes over after the student has graduated from secondary school to TVET institutions. It covers education in youth polytechnics which train mostly in artisan courses then TVET institutions which train from artisan, craft, and diploma levels. The last level under the TVET category is the National Polytechnics which offers up to higher diploma-level certification.

The last section in the Ministry of Education Kenya is University Education which covers all policies within the university levels. Universities are mandated to train from craft level up to a doctorate.

The ministry also coordinates other government bodies, SAGAs, and parastatals that are mandated to carry out specific operations within the education sector. They include but are not limited to KICD, KNEC, TSC, TVETA, TVET CDACC, KUCCPS, HELB, KNQA, CUE, and KASNEB among others to streamline the operation in the education sector in Kenya.

Curriculum Development in Kenya

Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) is mandated to develop the curriculum that is used to train students from basic and TVET levels. Currently, they are involved in changing the county curriculum from 8.4.4 to system that is skill-based.

For the TVET sector students can do courses that curriculum are developed by different bodies such as KASNEB, TVET CDACC, Universities in collaboration with TVET institutions, National Polytechnic curriculum among other specialized curriculums.

Universities on the other side are autonomous in that they can develop their curriculum for the courses they offer and examine them. For the curriculum to be implemented it must go through a process to ensure it meets all the requirements and regulations. This is controlled by the Council of University Education (CUE)

Evaluation of the Curriculum in Kenya

After the students have gone through the training they are evaluated by different bodies depending on the level. Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC) is mandated to evaluate students at the basic education level and some courses at TVET institutions.

However, for TVET institutions students can choose another examination body depending on their profession such as KASNEB, TVET CDACC, National Polytechnic, City and Guild, and CISCO among others.

University offers examinations that are evaluated internally and they award diplomas, degrees, and other certifications as per their structure.

Education standards and quality control

The Ministry of Education oversees the regulation of education standards at all levels. For basic education, it is done by the ministry direct. In TVET institutions it is done by the Technical Vocational Education Training Authority (TVETA) which certifies trainers who train in these institutions and checks if the institutions can offer the courses.

University education standards are controlled and checked by CUE. It certifies the university on the courses they are capable of offering depending on the training staff capacity, and infrastructure available among other criteria. If a university offers a course that doesn’t meet the CUE approval then it becomes null and void and it cannot be recognized in the work environment.

Education sponsorship and fee in Kenya

The government of Kenya started offering free basic education for all where the government pays for tuition fees for students. For basic education, most of the cost of education is catered for, but of course, it is not fully free. The cost of basic education depends on the school your child attends. The cheapest schools are public primary schools while most tuition fee is paid for.

For secondary school tuition and exam fees are catered for by the government while the guardian and student sponsor cater to the other expenses.

TVET and University education subsidize tuition fees then the student covers the other balance. Students can also apply for education loans which are offered by HELB on a need basis. The Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) is mandated to offer affordable loans to students who will pay later when they secure employment.

Other than HELB students can apply for other sources of grants that can be used to cater to their education such as NGCDF, NGO grants, Church bursaries, and HELB bursaries among other sources of funds for education.

Education entry requirements for different levels

In Kenya, every child is entitled to basic education which is a commitment of the government to reduce literacy levels. A child is expected to start Grade 1 at the age of 5 years and progress onward to the highest level that they can go. After the end of primary school level, they do an exam that is used to determine if they progress to secondary school and the category of secondary that they will attend.

The government is committed to ensuring 100% primary to secondary transition but still, it is a long way to go since the capacity of secondary school is low compared to primary. Those who don’t join secondary school can enroll for artisan courses at the youth polytechnic or TVET institution where they can acquire hands-on skills.

Those who progress to secondary education will have another summative evaluation at Form 4. The candidate’s performance at this level determines the course that the student can pursue in higher education. Those with a mean grade of C+ and above are eligible to pursue a bachelor’s degree in any university depending again on the subject cluster and the requirement of the course for that university.

C Plain and C- are qualified for a Diploma course, D+ and D Plain for Craft, and D- and E can pursue an Artisan course. The Kenya National Qualification Authority (KNQA) has established a framework that enables any student to start from any level and move to different levels to become a master in their field. This means any student can start from the Artisan and progress academically to be a master in that specific area.

For selection and allocating students to different universities and TVET institutions Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (KUCCPS) is mandated to place all government-sponsored students. Students can use the KUCCPS portal to apply for different courses in different universities and training institutions. However, privately sponsored students can source for any university that they wish to register without going through the KUCCPS way.

Human resources in the education sector

The government of the day pays for teaching staff at most levels. For kindergarten and baby classes the parent covers the cost of the teacher or the county government since that level is a devolved government function.

Teacher Service Commission (TSC) deals with human resources at the basic level i.e. primary, secondary, and teacher colleges. The TSC registers and pays all teachers who train at those levels. It has a human capacity of over 300,000 teachers which is still below the requirement compared to the number of students enrolled in Kenya’s basic education.

Youth polytechnic trainers are paid by the county governments and TVET teaching staff are paid by PSC under the Department of Technical Education. For university staff all are paid by the respective university council.

In most education institutions non-teaching staff are paid by the institution from the revenue that they collect from Income-Generating Activities (IGAs) or the burden is passed over to the parent and student sponsor.